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Learning Not to Drown (Anglais) Relié – 1 avril 2014

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Learning Not to Drown

Chapter 1:

Family Skeleton


Skeletons don’t like to stay in closets.

Most families try to lock them tightly away, buried beneath smiles and posed family pictures. But our Family Skeleton follows me closely with his long, graceful stride.

I guess people in my town think they have a pretty clear picture of Skeleton. Their whispers have haunted me most of the seventeen years of my life, stalking me almost as closely as he does: prison, prison, prison. Shame, shame, shame.

They don’t see him like I do. His eye sockets expand and shrink. His cartoon jaw morphs from smiles to frowns, from serious to surprise. He’s at least six feet tall, and when his bones stretch, he can dunk a basketball without his big toe coming off the ground. He’s quite talented.

When he wants to relax, he lounges in a silk smoking jacket with a Cuban cigar and drinks brandy from a warm snifter. He might have a drinking problem, but I don’t want to be presumptuous.

I think Mom, Dad, Peter, and Luke see Skeleton clearly. After all, they are my family. Although I can’t be sure, since Mom and Dad rarely talk about him, and Peter leaves the room whenever he appears.

Skeleton is the constant reminder of the crimes committed by my brother Luke. I’m used to Skeleton’s taunts, his lanky fingers pointing, the click of his bones when he cartwheels across the room. I’m used to him reminding me he will always be a part of my life story. He will always be there to warn that every action has a reaction, every crime has a consequence.

And the more he hangs around, the more my reputation decays.

Skeleton didn’t always exist—our family photo album shows me what reality was like before he started to appear. But I was too young then to own that memory now, a pre-Skeleton memory. My reality, my memories are like spinning pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that never make a complete picture.

And I can’t help but think, maybe, if Skeleton would go away, we could have perfect again.

Revue de presse

"Learning Not to Drown is a courageous, nuanced, and accurate look at the struggled faced by families living with incarcerated loved ones. Anna Shinoda's deeply informed story is not to be missed." - Dr. Drew of Loveline, HLN, and Celebrity Rehab

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Par Miawka TOP 1000 COMMENTATEURS le 23 août 2014
Format: Relié
Je suis vraiment déçue par ce livre dont le sujet pourtant, semblait prometteur. On s'ennuie rapidement et on finit par craquer et feuilleter pour savoir la fin, attendue. Dommage.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x96b9587c) étoiles sur 5 21 commentaires
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96bb3bac) étoiles sur 5 Powerful 1 avril 2014
Par Sara - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
Clare has spent her entire life living in the shadow of her brother Luke's reputation. For years, he's been in and out of jail on various drug charges and, every time he's out, he promises things will be different, but Clare knows better than most that even prison can't banish the monster that is addiction. Despite everything Luke has put her family through, Clare's parents constantly defend him, no matter his sins. To add insult to injury, Clare and her brother Peter are constantly measured against Luke and, in their parents' eyes, always found lacking. Still, Clare loves her brother and believes this time, things might be different.

When truths about Luke's crimes surface and he finds himself, once again, on the wrong side of the law, this time putting Clare's future at risk, Clare must make a decision that might haunt her forever: turn her back on Luke and her parents or sacrifice herself and her future for family. Tackling drug addiction, family skeletons, and the necessity of breaking free of damaging familial relationships, LEARNING NOT TO DROWN is a debut novel that burns with an intensity readers won't soon forget.

It's difficult to succinctly mention the many issues Anna Shinoda takes on in LEARNING NOT TO DROWN. Which, I suppose, is understandable, because drug addiction, a family member going to prison, secrets, and lies all create a ripple effect that's impossible to simplify. Shinoda attempts to understand and create a picture of these effects with LEARNING NOT TO DROWN and have to say, she does a remarkable job. The issues that Clare is dealing with - judgment from her peers because of who her brother is, unrealistic expectations from her parents, doubting her ability to judge someone's character (after truths are revealed about her brother's crimes), etc - have the ability to decimate a person, but Clare is resilient and is determined to overcome the cards she's been dealt. Clare's strength shines in the bleak landscape her family has allowed her world to become, making her growth and successes an inspiration.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96bb3b88) étoiles sur 5 Great Debut Novel by Anna Shinoda 2 avril 2014
Par George Hillinger - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
A well written novel about a girl coming to terms with her family demons, the largest one being a brother who she loves that is constantly in and out of prison. Shinoda does a wonderful job of character development and creates a story that we all can relate to on one level or another; family tension and the struggles that it creates growing up.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96bb37b0) étoiles sur 5 Realistic YA Fiction... 7 avril 2014
Par The Life & Times of a Book Addict - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
I sort of felt like I knew where the story was going to go before I started it, I just didn’t know all of the particulars. Even so, the story still found a way to grab me.

Learning Not to Drown is told from Clare’s point of view and occasionally there are flashbacks to Clare’s past. Memories of times shared with her oldest brother Luke whom she adored at the time. Memories of incidents occurring that forever change her family’s life. A life that is now somewhat tainted because of the actions of Luke.

Luke is Clare’s older brother; he has made some particularly bad decisions and has had to pay for them. On more than one occasion. He never seems to learn his lesson. He is constantly in and out of trouble.

Clare is a hardworking prized student; she is awarded scholarships and can basically go to almost any college of her choosing. She is a good kid. Yet her parents, more so her mom than her dad, treats her and her other brother Peter as if they were the ones who kept doing bad things.

Her parents are…unbelievable is the only word I can think of at the moment. The way her mom dotes on Luke so, even after everything he has done is crazy. I wished I could understand their logic.

The more her mom kept trying to help Luke and wanting him to change, the more it made me hope for Clare. Hope that she would be able to stand up for herself and step away from the shadow and skeletons of her brother/family and start fresh.

At times when I was reading it, I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about it. Overall I ended up liking it. I liked seeing Clare’s internal struggle with her family. How when she felt like she couldn’t go home, she had some good friends who actually cared about her. I wasn’t kept on the edge of my seat or anything, but I did find the story to be realistic, emotional, and interesting. I think the author did a nice job of trying to tie several serious topics together like drugs, family secrets, and lies to create a unique and realistic story.

**I received this book on behalf of the Publisher in exchange for nothing but my honest opinion.**
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96bb3c90) étoiles sur 5 Gripping 25 avril 2014
Par Gina - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
We often hear the term career criminals. We don't really have much compassion for them and just want to lock them up and throw away the key. Some do some pretty horrendous crimes.

What we don't do is stop to think about the family they leave behind.
That is exactly what this book is about. Luke is a what they consider a career criminal. He has been in and out of jail since he was a teenager. His parents have always been on his side 100%, no matter what. Luke has a younger brother and sister that are often emotionally put aside for Luke's needs by their parents.

The main character in this book is Claire. She grows up with her oldest brother in and out of jail. She was not told until she was 17 what crimes Luke the brother she looks up to, actually committed.

This book touches on emotions, feelings and situations we don't really think about when we think of criminals. I felt myself feeling sorry for the family not for Luke. Luke choose to do these things, his family did not.

This is the debut novel by this author. I loved it and hope she writes more. I read this book in 2 days. I just couldn't put it down. I give it a 5 out of 5.
HASH(0x96bb32ac) étoiles sur 5 Great book 14 mai 2014
Par Live Outside - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
4.5 stars
I was swimming in murky water, the thin reeds pushing up through the waves tangling around my legs as I tried to swim to the other side of the lake. I heard toddlers and children crying my name and as I turned my neck, I saw the back of their heads barely poking out of the mud that encased their bodies. I had to get to them and yank them up out of the earth before it consumed them, for who knows what would have happened. This felt so real, my heart beating so hard, panic had settled in as I awoke one night after reading Learning Not to Drown. I was so caught up in the drama and in the experiences of Clare as she battled the skeleton in her families’ closet. Clare lives in the shadow of her older brother, the trouble maker. It was not just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time like her mother said but Clare knows no different. Clare’s other brother knows the truth and his temper and emotions show the true story. Clare has some memories and the ones that she has, she filters them. Bringing to the surface only the happy ones, letting the other memories sift down to the bottom, pretending that they never occurred. She feels like she is making a difference and she is trying: the letters to her brother in prison, driving her brother around town, and her knitting. As I peeled back the history of this family, the true colors that made up this household splattered across the pages and the skeleton came out of the closet, smiling and making himself known. How Clare did not discover the truth about her older brother was beyond me since she is going to school and she is around other adults but nevertheless, I loved how the author threw out the pieces a bit at a time and let Clare put her world together. She’s only trying to get through high school for then she can move away and create her own footprint, leaving the skeleton behind.
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